JERUSALEM (Dec. 15)
Four delegations of Palestinians from the West Bank will go to Cairo this week to express their support directly to President Anwar Sadat of Egypt for his peace initiative and to wish success to the Cairo conference that opened yesterday. West Bank students continued to demonstrate against the conference in several towns today. But the projected trip to Cairo by local notables represented the first major setback for the Palestine Liberation Organization in the territory since PLO-backed mayors won landslide victories in the West Bank municipal elections of April, 1976.
Their decision to go to the Egyptian capital apparently was prompted by the warm reception the Egyptian authorities gave to a large delegation of Gaza Strip Arabs who went to Cairo earlier in the week to pledge Palestinian support for Sadat.
The first West Bank delegation will be headed by Abdul Rauf Fares, a former member of the Jordanian parliament who was one of the first West Bankers to speak out in favor of Sadat’s initiative. About 200 people had singed up for the trip as of yesterday. The second delegation is headed by Hussein Shuyuhi, a lawyer who has been trying to organize a political movement on the West Bank to counter-balance the PLO.
The third will be headed by Burhan Jaabari, son of the former Mayor of Hebron, Sheikh Mohammed Ali el-Jaabari, who has close ties with King Hussein of Jordan. Mustafa Doudin, former Jordanian Minister of Interior, will lead the fourth delegation which includes a group from Jericho.
None of the delegations will include top ranking West Bank leaders. Two of the latter, former Jordanian Defense Minister Anwar Nusseiba and Anwar el-Hatib, former Jordanian Governor of the Jerusalem district, are believed to be watching developments in Cairo closely before deciding which way to throw their support. Arrangements for the trip to Cairo were made through the Egyptian Ambassador in Amman.
Meanwhile, students demonstrated against the Cairo talks in Ramallah, Nablus and Bir Zeit, site of the Arab University. The campus demonstration was subdued and the students dispersed when an Israeli army unit arrived. Students of UNRWA-run schools in Ramallah staged noisy protests in the streets but also dispersed when troops arrived and caused no disturbances. But several students were arrested in Nablus for inciting others to leave their classrooms and demonstrate. The local Communist Party distributed leaflets condemning Sadat and denouncing the Cairo conference as “reaction and surrender.”